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And I was rather inclined to leave Boston, when I reflected that I had already made myself a little obnoxious to the governing party, and from the arbitrary proceedings of the assembly in my brother's case it was likely I might, if I staid, soon bring myself into scrapes; and further, that my indiscreet disputations about religion, began to make me pointed at with horror by good people, as an infidel or atheist. I concluded, therefore, to remove to New York; but my father now siding with my brother, I was sensible that if I attempted to go openly, means would be used to prevent me. My friend Collins, therefore, undertook to manage my flight. He agreed with the captain of a NewYork sloop to take me, under pretence of my being a young man of his acquaintance, that had had an intrigue with a girl of bad character, whose parents would compel me to marry her, and that I could neither appear or come away publicly. I sold my books to raise a little money, was taken on board the sloop privately, had a fair wind, and in three days found myself at New York, near 300 miles from my home, at the of 17, without the least recommendation, or knowledge of any person in the place, and very little money in my pocket.
The inclination I had had for the sea was by this time done away, or I might now have gratified it. But having another profession, and conceiving myself a pretty good workman, I offered my services to a printer of the place, old Mr. W. Bradford (who
had been the first printer in Pennsylvania, but had removed thence, in consequence of a quarrel with the governor, Geo. Keith.) He could give me no employment, having little to do, and hands enough already ; but he said, “ my son at Philadelphia has lately lost his principal hand, Aquila Rose, by death : if you go thither, I believe he may employ you.” Philadelphia was 100 miles further; I set out however in a boat for Amboy, leaving my chest and things to follow me round by sea. In crossing the bay, we met with a squall that tore our rotten sails to pieces, prevented our getting into the Kill, and drove us upon Long-Island. In our way, a drunken Dutchman, who was a passenger too, fell overboard; when he was sinking, I reached through the water to his shock pate, and drew him up, so that we got him in again. His ducking sobered him a little, and he went to sleep, taking first out of his pocket a book, which he desired I would dry for him. It proved to be my old favorite author, Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, in Dutch, finely printed on good paper, copper cuts, a dress better than I had ever seen it wear in its own language. I have since found that it has been translated into most of the languages of Europe, and suppose it has been more generally read than any other book, except perhaps the Bible. Honest John was the first that I know of, who mixed narration and dialogue; a method of writing very engaging to the reader, who in the most interesting
parts finds himself, as it were, admitted into the company and present at the conversation. Defoe has imitated him successfully in his Robinson Crusoe, in his Moll Flanders, and other pieces; and Richardson has done the same in his Pamela, &c. :
On approaching the island, we found it was in a place where there could be no landing, there being a great surge on the stony beach. So we dropped anchor, and swung out our cable towards the shore. Some people came down to the shore, and hallooed to us, as we did to them, but the wind was so high, and the surge so loud that we could not understand each other. There were some small boats near the shore, and we made signs, and called to them to fetch us; but they either did not comprehend us, or it was impracticable, so they went off. Night approaching, we had no remedy but to have patience till the wind abated, and in the meantime the boatman and myself concluded to sleep if we could; and so we crowded into the hatches, where we joined the Dutchman, who was still wet, and the spray breaking over the head of our boat, leaked through to us, so that we were soon almost as wet as he. In this manner we lay all night with very little rest: but the wind abating the next day, we made a shift to reach Amboy before night; having been thirty hours on the water, without victuals, or any drink but a bottle of filthy rum; the water we sailed on being salt.
In the evening I found myself very feverish, and went to bed: but having read somewhere that cold water drank plentifully was good for a fever, I followed the prescription ; and sweat plentifully most of the night: my fever left me, and in the morning, crossing the ferry, I proceeded on my journey on foot, having fifty miles to Burlington, where I was told I should find boats that would carry me the rest of the way to Philadelphia.
It rained very hard all the day, I was thoroughly soaked, and by noon a good deal tired; so I stopt at a poor inn, where I stayed all night; beginning now to wish I had never left home. I made so miserable a figure too, that I found by the questions asked me, I was suspected to be some runaway indentured servant, and in danger of being taken up on that suspicion. However, I proceeded next day, and got in the evening to an inn, within eight or ten miles of Burlington, kept by one Dr. Brown. He entered into conversation with me while I took some refreshment, and finding I had read a little, became very obliging and friendly. Our acquaintance continued all the rest of his life. He had been, I imagine, an ambulatory Quack Doctor, for there was no town in England, or any country in Europe, of which he could not give a very particular account. He had some letters, and was ingenious, but he was an infidel, and wickedly undertook some years after to turn the Bible into doggrel verse; as Cotton had formerly done with
Virgil. By this means he set many facts in a ridiculous light, and might have done mischief with weak minds, if his work had been published; but it never was. At his house I lay that night, and arrived the next morning at Burlington; but had the mortification to find that the regular boats were gone a little before, and no other expected to go before Tuesday, this being Saturday. Wherefore I returned to an old woman in the town of whom I had bought some gingerbread to eat on the water, and asked her advice: she proposed to lodge me, 'till a passage by some other boat occurred. I accepted her offer, being much fatigued by travelling on foot. Understanding I was a printer, she would have had me remain in that town and follow my business; being ignorant what stock was neces: sary to begin with. She was very hospitable, gave me a dinner of ox-cheek with great good-will, accepting only of a pot of ale in return; and I thought myself fixed 'till Tưesday should come. However, walking in the evening by the side of the river, a boat came by, which I found was going towards Philadelphia with several people in her. They took me in, and as there was no wind, we rowed all the way; and about midnight, not having yet seen the city, some of the company were confident we must have passed it; and would row no further; the others knew not where we were, so we put towards the shore, got into a creek, landed near an old fence, with the rails of which we made a